Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Skin?

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Skin?

Are you thinking of applying face paint to your child? Or do you need to get them ready for a birthday party? Either way, they will be exposed to the color for an extended time period. It is your responsibility to ensure the paint is safe for their skin.

A large part of this responsibility is ensuring their safety. Since specific types of paints can cause harm, you must protect them from these types.

Before applying acrylic paint on body, you need to ask yourself, 'can you use acrylic paint on skin?' Children have sensitive skin, and you need to be careful about what you use.

To do so, you must look into each type of paint before you apply it to your child's face.

Is acrylic paint safe on the face?

Is it okay to use acrylic paint on your face?

The simple answer is no; using acrylic paint on body isn't safe. And there are many reasons why.

1)  Toxic ingredients

Acrylic paint isn't meant to be used on the skin. It's made to be used on canvas or paper. And so, manufacturers don't pay much attention to the ingredients they use. Harmful chemicals like ammonia, lead, and formaldehyde are just some of the toxic elements found in acrylic paints. None of these should be anywhere close to the skin, especially if it’s a child's skin.

2)  Lack of ventilation

Acrylic paint is stiff, has no flexibility to it, and doesn't allow any air to pass through it. So when you put acrylic paint on the body, your kid's skin won't be able to breathe.

 3)  Needs constant retouching

Even if you're able to move past the harmful components of acrylic paint, using it takes a lot of effort. It needs to be retouched every 30 to 60 minutes because it is susceptible to cracks. Other options can simply be applied once and then let be.

Is acrylic paint waterproof?

In order to make acrylic paint on the body waterproof, you'll have to seal it. Additionally, you'll need to buy special materials to prep the skin beforehand.

But even with all these precautions, your child's face paint can still be ruined by a splash of water. Especially when the paint is wet, it absorbs any and all water it touches. It does get a bit better once acrylic paint dries, but it can't be categorized by water-resistant.

How do you get acrylic paint off your face?

Proper water-based paints are easy to remove. All you have to do is use a bit of water and soap. However, acrylic paint is the exact opposite.

When you use acrylic paint on the body, it attaches itself to all the hair on the skin's relevant part. To get acrylic paint off your face, you'll need to peel it off.

Waxing your hair hurts. But removing acrylic paint is even worse. Since children generally have low pain thresholds, the entire process can hurt a lot.

What kind of paint can you use on your face?

What Kind of Paints to Use on Your Face

Even though acrylic paint isn't safe for skin, other types of paint are available.

1.    Water-based paint

Water-based paint is the safest option for face and body paint. Governments regulate these paints and companies that manufacture them have to follow a strict set of guidelines. It's non-toxic, has none of the harmful ingredients in acrylic paints, and can be removed easily.

It's also super easy to apply - you can use a wide range of paraphernalia, such as a paintbrush, a sponge, or an airbrush. The only downsides to water-based paints are that they crack and rub off easily.

2.    Metallic body paint

Another type of paint you can use as face paint is metallic body paint. Use it with caution because it can irritate the skin and can be time-consuming to remove. Therefore, it is best used for performances.

3.    Alcohol-based paint

This type of face paint is used to make airbrush tattoos and for special effects. And its best used in sunny areas. Alcohol-based paints are waterproof, and so they don’t come off with sweat and they don't crack. However, alcohol-based paint will smudge if you touch it.

Removing alcohol-based paint isn't the most straightforward task, and you will need rubbing alcohol to do so.

4.    Henna

Henna is a familiar face paint in Asian and African regions of the world. The pigment is extracted from plant dye and stains the skin in a brown or orange tint.

Kids and adults can use it with no harmful effects whatsoever. The paint fades over time, but you can speed up the process by exfoliating.

Note: Some black henna contains some additional chemicals that can harm skin, so it would be best if you avoid it.

5.    Markers

Now, we're not talking about everyday markers as they can harm the skin. However, there are some markers that are manufactured specifically for body and face painting. They are non-toxic and safe to use on kids and adults.

Depending on the markers you buy, you'll be able to use them on particular parts of the body. So if you're looking for face paints, check the packaging to see if they're suitable.


If you want to use acrylic paint on the face, it isn't the best idea. Not only is this type of paint toxic, but it is incredibly difficult to remove and needs to be continuously retouched. Additionally, it isn't waterproof and can be ruined very easily.

On the other hand, there are five safe alternatives. And all these options are a better option than acrylic paint. You can choose from among water-based paint, metallic body paint, alcohol-based paint, henna, and markers.

However, always do your due diligence before using any of them. Also, apply them on a small patch of your skin to check for potential allergies. It's the best way to tell if they're the right option for you.

Even though acrylic paint is not best to use on your skin, it has many other benefits and is a get solution for beginner artists.  To get started painting on canvases check out our complete acrylic paint kit for beginners to intermediate artists.

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